Absurd Anti-Marijuana Video Is Going Viral, Not Because It's Working -- Because It's HilariousBy Justin Gardner
The Free Thought Project
Dec. 21, 2015
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A new propaganda video about pot smokers has the internet both laughing and cringing.
The "Stoner Sloth" is an actual person dressed up in a giant sloth outfit, moaning ridiculously and performing poorly in various social settings. It's an affront to sloths and humans alike.
"You're Worse on Weed" is the message put out by the Australia's New South Wales (NSW) Department of Premier and Cabinet. The three scenarios in this compilation involve Stoner Sloth failing at school, fumbling at the family dinner table and spacing out at a hangout with friends.
Critics are saying that using the lovable sloth character will backfire and may convey a positive appeal rather than the intended negative message. The NSW government said that its ad was "informed by research conducted by the National Cannabis Prevention and Information Centre."
However, the center director said, "NCPIC was not consulted on any of the creative elements of this campaign," adding, "They have used our name to cover this campaign … We are going to ask them to print a retraction that it is based on work that we did."
The video attempts to put an Edward Bernays influence on the idea of Reefer Madness. It uses the proven marketing technique of crowd psychology, where "the loss of responsibility of the individual and the impression of universality of behavior" are fundamental. Some people will fall for it.
Still, the absurdity of the giant fake sloth might be the undoing of the department's "public service" attempt. Who can keep a straight face while watching it?
The idea that using cannabis will, in itself, cause one to fail in all things is not supported by reality. Nor does a person need to abandon individuality--submitting to crowd psychology--in order to be successful.
The only people to fail in this public service announcement – are the ones who made it.
In the third scenario, where the teens are at a party, they appear to all be drinking out of the infamous 'red solo cup' which has long been used to hold the contents coming out of beer kegs. This video, whether deliberate or not, actually encourages drinking, which is responsible for tens of thousands of deaths a year.
Cannabis has been used for thousands of years by human beings for medicinal and recreational purposes. Its ability to stimulate free thought and creativity are well recognized. An Australian artist, backed by a museum, said that cannabis should be used in high schools to "medicate for creativity."
That is certainly controversial, and we do not encourage anyone to abuse any psychoactive substance. The teenage brain is particularly vulnerable to the overuse of substances.
Having said that, there are millions of successful people in every walk of life who use cannabis in a way that aids them.
Perhaps a genius and an entrepreneur can sum up the experience.
"The illegality of cannabis is outrageous, an impediment to full utilization of a drug which helps produce the serenity and insight, sensitivity and fellowship so desperately needed in this increasingly dangerous world." -- Carl Sagan"
The best way I would describe the effect of the marijuana and the hashish is that it would make me relaxed and creative." -- Steve Jobs